Iran restarts threats over closing Strait of Hormuz

“The US threats are nothing more than a hollow
allegation and this reality is crystal-clear to both nations,” Nader
Qazipour told the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency on Monday. “If
the US had the power to make an aggression against our soil, it would have made
a move already.”

{mosads}Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi explained the logistics of
Iran’s closing of the strait, saying in a Mehr News Agency report that such a
closure would be implemented by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Officials in Tehran made similar threats back in December as
the United States prepared to enact sanctions against Iran’s central bank. The
latest aggressive rhetoric is coming just after U.S. sanctions against the
central bank and a European Union ban on Iranian oil imports went into effect
in recent weeks.

A closure of the Strait of Hormuz, even if short lived,
would disrupt the world’s oil markets, something that the United States hopes
to avoid. Approximately one-fifth of the world’s oil travels through the

The United States and its allies suspect Iran of attempting to seek
nuclear weapons, while Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful
purposes only.

The Obama administration has said it still seeks a
diplomatic solution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, while President
Obama has also indicated he isn’t ruling out military action.

Still, there have been

about increased U.S. military presence in the Gulf, potentially to counteract
Iranian attempts to mine the strait.

Iran’s ability to disrupt the oil markets through the strait could be lessening, however, as the United Arab Emirates opened
a pipeline
this weekend that would bypass the Strait of Hormuz. The pipeline
is designed to carry at least 1.5 million barrels a day of crude oil, according
to The Associated Press.

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